Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Cuba, New Mexico: Antlers, "Bunker" Lane, and Pedestrian Chivalry

Friendly fellow travelers in Cuba, New Mexico.


Cuba, New Mexico. A small town with a distinct flavor. On two separate visits - going to and returning from northwestern New Mexico - I spent one night here, ate two meals here, bought some gas and coffee here. I even had my tires balanced here. Hm. As I write this, I can see that I made a not-insignificant contribution to the local economy.

Cuba, New Mexico


Although small, it's got a McDonald's.  It's got a relatively upscale Mexican restaurant. At least two motels.

On Highway 550, Cuba gets a fair amount of traffic from folks visiting Chaco Canyon or making the trek between Albuquerque and Farmington or southern Colorado.

So here are my observations: 

Antlers

You know how New Mexico has a thing about antlers. Lo, there was this truck in a parking lot. The antler buyer welcomed my questions.


Antlers in Cuba, New Mexico


So interesting. Antler sources: Primarily naturally-shed antlers from in the wild and from hunting preserves. Also some from animals killed by hunters. The going rate was $9 per pound for brown antlers and $5 per pound for white antlers. There was at least one other category, but while the buyer and I were talking, some prospective sellers pulled up, so I got out of the way, and I didn't follow up.


Antlers in Cuba, New Mexico

The buyer's company uses the antlers to make chandeliers or dog chews. And maybe furniture; I forget. Antlers unsuitable for these uses are ground and exported to China for traditional medicinal purposes.  


Antlers in Cuba, New Mexico


"Bunker" Lane

As I pulled out of a parking lot, I saw a small sign on the corner, close to the ground, with an arrow pointing down a lane. "See the Mudwasp Sculpture. Viewable from your car." Something like that.  So I made a turn there to check it out, whereupon I entered a sliver of a world with multiple guard dogs, both chained and unchained, No Trespassing signs, Beware of Dog signs, and chain link fences. I did arrive at this artist's studio, and I could see intriguing art displayed in the yard, enclosed by a fence.


Cuba, New Mexico

I got out of my car so I could take photos closer up and, hopefully, where I could get a view unobstructed by the fence. That's when I saw the largish dog trot out from behind the house to the front to see what I was up to. It was the kind of dog that looked like it could jump that medium-high fence if it wanted to, and based on all of the threatening signage I'd seen before I got to the artist's place, and how her corner sign specified that her art was "viewable from your car," I wasn't going to take any chances, and I pivoted, got back into my car and then wheeled up to the yard in my protective metal sheath.

Cuba, New Mexico


I kind of think the dog was probably friendly, if I go by the wagging tail, but nevertheless ....

As I drove back to the main thoroughfare, thereby passing again the warning signs, the chain fences, some miserable-looking curs, I wondered, what the hell happens here that requires such snarly security? And why would I continue to live in such a place if I didn't have to?

The mean-street vibe from this neighborhood in Cuba is particularly at odds with the well-heeled Sunday clientele that patronizes the nearby restaurant, El Bruno's. Curious.

(For the record, I think Presciliano's - another restaurant in Cuba - has better food than El Bruno's. But El Bruno's does have a lovely ambiance.)  


Pedestrian chivalry

I had an experience in Cuba that I've never had anywhere else in the world.

The main drag through town, Highway 550, is pretty darn busy. So when I needed to cross the road, it meant crossing five lanes: two each for driving and one middle "orange lane" for turning, and it was on a curve. No crosswalks, no lights in the area, no stop signs, no really identifiable intersections in the vicinity.

And do you know that oncoming traffic - from both the north and the south - stopped so I could cross? Yeah, I couldn't believe it either. But it's true.

I'm still impressed.


Eating crows

Cuba, New Mexico

One of the restaurants puts out something or another out back for the ravens to eat. At least, I'm assuming it's deliberate. Maybe it's intended for a dog.


A Cuba streetfront church 

Cuba, New Mexico

 

An old building

Cuba, New Mexico

Cuba, New Mexico

Cuba, New Mexico

Cuba, New Mexico


Cuba, New Mexico



Restaurant courtyard



Cuba, New Mexico

Cuba, New Mexico

2 comments:

Unknown said...

Thanks for this. I just got a job offer in Cuba and was looking for some info with a more human touch than Wikipedia can provide. Cheers

Mzuri said...

So glad you stopped by and that the post was useful! Gosh, I love New Mexico.